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Just Another College Student's Budget Build | UPDATED: 12 FEBRUARY 2016

by Numberz123456789

22
12 Comments

Part List View full price breakdown

Details

Date Published

June 15, 2015

Date Built

May 27, 2015

CPU Clock Rate

3.7 GHz

CPU Temperature While Idle

26.0° C

CPU Temperature Under Load

50.0° C

GPU Core Clock Rate

950 MHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

1.25 GHz

GPU Temperature While Idle

55.0° C

GPU Temperature Under Load

71.0° C

Description

This is my first computer build, and I've been itching to do one for quite awhile. Thing is, I didn't want to drop >$500 (or more). So I went AMD and I waited for a good sale to base the rest of my build around. I feel that >anything past the $500 mark should be an Intel build (unless you need the multiple cores of AMD chips). This >build is infinitely better than the old pre-built computer I was playing on.

You ask why didn't I go with a Pentium G3258? Because, the Athlon 860k is a quad core. That's about the only >reason I took it over the G3258. My old pre-built had a AMD Phenom II x4 910 @ 2.6 Ghz. It held it's own in >games >like Minecraft and League of Legends.

I went solid black in terms of color, but then introduced a subtle blue hue throughout my setup. The blue fans >that came with the case aren't bright enough to keep me awake if I decide to update my games at night.

This computer will play primarily: Modded Minecraft, World of Tanks, League of Legends, and then some steam >games on the side. Also, I will be beginning to mod Minecraft once I am able to expand my Java programming >knowledge in the upcoming Fall 2015 semester.

-- Core Components --

CPU: AMD Athlon X4 860K 3.7GHz Quad-Core Processor $70.00 Because of Fry's Electronics, I was able to get this processor and the motherboard listed below for $80 after MIR. >This processor is the perfect thing for a budget build, and handles a nice overclock.

CPU Cooler : Cooler Master Hyper TX3 54.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler $17.00 This nice little CPU cooler that offers a push/pull configuration keeps the Athlon 860k at a reasonable >temperature under load. Even comes with some thermal grease.

Thermal Compound: Masscool G751 Shin-Etsu 0.5g Thermal Paste $6.00
This thermal grease is the stuff recommended by both Intel and AMD and wasn't too expensive. So I got it.

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-F2A68HM-DS2H Micro ATX FM2+ Motherboard $10.00 For a new motherboard that costed $10, it is pretty devoid of features. This was combo'd with the Athlon >also. If you are thinking about building, you should probably get more than a $50 motherboard, even if it is >only >$10 due to a combo deal/sale.

Because of this cheap motherboard, I have actually refrained from overclocking anything.

Memory: Team Dark 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory $43.00 This was the first part I purchased, and was simply going to be used as an upgrade in my rather potato-ish pre->built computer. 8 GBs of generic 1600 MHz RAM bought on Newegg while on sale. RAM is RAM.

Storage: PNY CS1111 120GB 2.5" Solid State Drive $51.00 I have a 300GB HDD from my mom's dead laptop, and this small SSD complements that nicely as a boot drive >with room to spare for core programs such as Steam, Google Chrome, etc.

Graphics Card: Sapphire HD 7950 3GB with Boost $105.00 Thanks to /r/Hardwareswap, I was able to grab a pretty cheap graphics card with 3GB of VRAM. It was used >lightly for 6 months. Now that I've put it in the build, I've post the obligatory bad build pictures. Since I bought >my graphics card last (and I really needed one since I was getting the occasional BSOD from my ancient ATI HD >4350) it turned out to be red. This 7950 is a reference design, so it does get a little warm during some >demanding >games.

Case: Zalman ZM-Z9 U3 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case $24.00 As stated above, Fry's Electronics has some pretty nice deals, allowing me to buy this case for $34 before MIR. >This case normal runs for $70+ on Newegg and Amazon.

Power Supply: EVGA 500W 80+ Certified ATX Power Supply $45.00 A nice power supply from a good brand; it has power connectors needed for GPUs in thirst of more power.

Operating System: Windows 8.1 Pro (from Dreamspark) $0.00
Thanks to Microsoft's Dreamspark program, I was able to get Windows 8 Pro for free.

-- Peripherals --

Monitor: Samsung SyncMaster 2333HD HDTV Monitor A nice monitor that runs games in 1080p at 60 Hz. I bought this several years ago when I was just entering PC >gaming and when my family still had cable.

Keyboard: Logitech K360 Wireless Mini Keyboard Generic small keyboard with nice keys. I might look to grab a cheaper mechanical keyboard off of >/r/hardwareswap or /r/mechmarket.

Mouse: Anker AK-98ANDS2368-BA Wired Laser Mouse A quality gaming mouse bought for $30 off of Amazon during the holiday months. It can be made to glow in all >types of colors, not just blue.

Speakers: Arion Legacy AR302-BK AC Powered 2.0 Desktop PC Speakers - Black, 12 Watts Generic desktop speakers that have a convenient headphone jack.

Final Note:

I accomplished my goal of not going over $400, and left room for a motherboard upgrade, RAM upgrade, and >storage upgrades. Since my little brother doesn't have to worry about saving money for college yet, I'll be >helping him to build and Intel/Nvidia computer in the coming months.

Feel free to leave you comments/constructive criticisms below. Yes, I know the cable management is bad.

Edit: Thank you all for the nice comments, it means a lot. :D

-- UPDATE: 12 February 2016 --

A fan was making a bad noise in my case about two months ago, so I decided to clean out my case, which fixed the problem. About two weeks later, the fan started up again. I thought it had been my power supply fan the entire time, but it was actually my top case fan. I didn't learn this until I got the new power supply in the new case.

But whatever, my parents wanted a media server, and I had the old AM3 Phenom prebuilt I let my brother use sitting around, so after I persuaded my parents into getting a case, I built a media server.

In the middle of the summer last year, I was able to get a Logitech G710+, for $63 dollars and then I was able to sell my new-ish keyboard to my brother for $10. In November, I was able to pick up a set of JVC headphones which normally go for about $75 on Jet for $45. They have amazing sound quality and are probably comparable to most sub $100 headphones. For Christmas, my parents got my a joystick so that I could play space games and World of Tanks/War Thunder.

Part Reviews

CPU

The perfect processor for a budget build.

CPU Cooler

The Cooler Master 212 Evo's younger sibling. This CPU cooler is capable of having two fans for a push/pull configuration, however. It was a little hard getting onto an FM2+ board though.

Thermal Compound

Intel and AMD's recommended thermal paste. Good stuff.

Motherboard

Good for what it offers, but it doesn't offer much. I was able to get this for essentially $10 due to a bundle deal with my processor, but for $50 (or whatever the standard price is) you can probably do better.

Memory

Really generic DDR3 RAM that's pure black.

Storage

A really nice budget SSD, allowing for boot times of about 5 seconds.

Case

While it is definitely not worth its normal price of $70, I was able to pick up this case for $34 before MIR, which was a very nice price.

The temperature probe works well, and you can stick it next to your GPU/CPU. It allows for two controllable fans which is also nice. It has a front audio ports, 2 front USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports. It offers some nice cable management, and supports all types of motherboards. On top of it all it has a nice window case.

Overall, this is a really nice case if you can get it cheap. If not, look elsewhere.

Keyboard

I got this keyboard as a refurb, and it is amazing. The keys do feel a bit different after you take the O-rings off of them.

Headphones

These headphones are perfect for gaming, music, anything. I WAS coming from a pair of pretty bad $20 desktop speakers, so anything would probably sound better.

These headphones have an all around good sound, and they don't hurt my ears after wearing them for extended gaming sessions.

Comments Sorted by:

LeMMingSlayeR 22 Builds 3 points 44 months ago

Sweet build! That GPU is an absolute beast for $105, will play ANY game out there with good settings. I have two R9 280s, which are basically re-branded 7950s, and I'm playing Witcher 3 on High settings in 1080p @ 50-60FPS with just a single card running (crossfire disabled - still no good W3 profile...). You will be playing games on that thing for years still with no problems.

ElectricUniverse 1 point 44 months ago

Budget builds are my favorites. I think they are more challenging. Your classmates will want to do the same. Nice build!

TheGhostMan 4 Builds 1 point 44 months ago

Nice work. =) +1

Lazybob 1 Build 1 point 44 months ago

Fantastic for the price.

jaglowskip 1 point 44 months ago

looks good! a couple of suggestions however, you might want to consider rotating that CPU cooler so it draws air through the system and out through the rear exhaust vent. you create better airflow through your system that way. also consider placing your PSU so the fan is face down. it's better to have the PSU's intake fan pull in cooler outside air than to pull in the pre-warmed case air.

Arkwoman1990 1 Build 2 points 44 months ago

I believe for AMD's it mounts a different way than for Intels

beardofsocrates 1 point 44 months ago

Budget or not, this is a pretty solid build. Nice work!

Cloudyy 1 point 44 months ago

I'm showing this to the next person who claims you can't build a $400 PC that bests consoles. Great budgeting.

gugu96 19 Builds 1 point 44 months ago

I keep bouncing on Fry's combo when I read here on this website. Too bad there aren't any Fry's in Quebec.

well done on the budget! Priced like a pre-built oem system, but packing a hell lot more!

MrCMoney28 1 Build 1 point 44 months ago

I got mine from fry's too. What school do you go to?

zevFern 1 point 44 months ago

Did you get the Athlon/MOBO combo last Black Friday?

Because I did :D

NameTaken 1 point 44 months ago

Nice! Cheap and fast! Amazing

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